Okay you guys, we’re turning this party up a notch.
It’s the 8th of June.
Do you know what that means?
That means, friends, that we are 8 days into hot chocolate and fleecy jammies and apple pie season.
“Ella!” I call. She comes running. “What, mummy?”
“Quick, put these tights on. And some boots. And pop this beanie on!”
“Why mummy? Because it’s winter?”
And just like that, my girl gets the efforts I go to to enforce strict seasonal rules in a hometown whose latitude prevents much sway. Most of the year, we sweat. We’re all frizzy hair and unclothed babies and fans blowing because the sun is just SO HOT around these parts. For two months in the middle of the year though? For two whole months we get to wear tights and boots and cut fringes in our hair because there is no humidity to make the silly things sprout up like rising pastry.
I don’t know exactly what it is about winter. I mean, summer’s so live-it-up with its waterparks and homemade lemonade and late night barbecues, spring is renewing, autumn a welcome reprieve from the heat, but winter?
Winter is home.
Every year at season change, I feel sad that I’m raising my kids in a place with…well, a lack of them. Every year I pine for winter to marry up with Christmastime, for autumn to line up with Halloween and distinct temperature drops and beds of dried leaves to jump in. I long for spring to mean that rows of wildflowers will begin sprouting along the roadside, ice and cold melting from the trees surrounding them.
However, what brings me joy, and what I focus on when I go to extreme attempts to amplify the significance of each season isn’t the leaves or the temperature drops or the wildflowers. It’s the grounding rituals of tradition, of making the most of what we have, and the return to what matters most…our home, our family, our stories.
It didn’t hit me until I had kids, the importance of traditions and how often they are embedded in season changes. It brings me so much joy to know I hold the torch… that I am writing their book, at least the beginning chapters — the ones I work hard to fill with traditions and stories and memories of the comforts of home.
I want them to know that spring is for pastels and new projects and happy flowers in vases on the dining table. I want them to know summer means holidays and road trips and camping adventures and homemade lemonade, and that autumn is for scavenger hunts and orangey-yellow dresses with ankle boots. And I want them to know that winter equals apple pie. That it means candles and quilts and our annual trip to the city to play with ‘snow’ and go sledding.
Because more than that, I want them to know that life is for celebrating. And that how we celebrate matters. Besides, the stories of childhood bind families and binds siblings – that even when they are adults, they will share the stories unique to them as they reminisce about the game nights and the family holidays and the Halloween parties. And when I’m old and grey, I think nothing will give me greater pleasure than having my kids come home for Christmas and tell stories from when they were little – how Billy always scoffed the apple pie before it had even cooled down and how fun it was to camp in the backyard during summer. The ridiculous Halloween costumes I made them wear, and the Santa walks we’d go on on Christmas eve – Billy trying to convince Ella that Santa wasn’t real but Ella not having a bar of it.
And so, I work hard to write these pages for them, to give them a clear sense of home, of identity, of “this is us”, “this is what we do”.
And what we do? We welcome things with confetti, or in winter’s case, stacks of paper snowflakes.
Winter is for cozy nights and candles, baking and craft-making, setting the table for proper meals, and embracing home.
In Brisbane, Australia, 27 degrees south of the equator, we are making winter memories.